“Self-service kiosks have for some time been a part of the restaurant experience, but the COVID-19 pandemic has called into question one of the device’s defining features: the touchscreen. At a time when more people are avoiding public spaces and restaurants are urged to “go contactless,” do we really want to order our food from a device 20 people had their hands all over before we stepped up to it?
A Silicon Valley company called Sensory believes not, which is why it has recently taken its technology into the realm of quick-service restaurants (QSRs) to outfit kiosks with a new kind of interface: voice.
Anyone with an eye to the restaurant biz could see this trend coming as far back as a year ago. Voice interfaces are part of many consumers’ homes now (roughly 88 million U.S. adults), and the last 12 months have seen QSRs make big strides in the voice-tech realm, most notably with McDonald’s 2019 acquisition of voice-tech company Apprente. But, as with most food tech these days, the pandemic has accelerated the need for voice-enabled tools to improve hygiene and social distancing in the restaurant setting.
Sensory may be new to the QSR space, but the company is Old Guard when it comes to voice. Having worked on voice and vision AI for the last 25 years, Sensory’s technology is already deployed in major industries like banking and automotive. Which is to say, the folks behind the name know a thing or two about making voice tech efficient and easy to use, two things that are a must for today’s beleaguered restaurant industry.”